So you’re a small business owner. Getting your startup off the ground was hard enough, but now comes the really tricky part – how to grow your small business. Many small businesses don’t survive the first five years, largely due to ineffective business planning. By reading this article, you’re already on the right track. Follow these 9 tips to grow your small business, and become the successful entrepreneur you always dreamed you would be!
Planning is the key to growing your small business. Sure, you might get lucky and grow without any planning. But if that’s the case, you won’t be ready for it, and you likely won’t be able to handle the larger volume of operations. By planning a strategy for success, your efforts will be much more effective and you will be better equipped to efficiently operate an expanding business. Identify your goals as a business, determine your ideal customer, and plan how you’re going to accomplish those goals. Set small, measurable goals to get an idea if you’re making any headway so that you can continue planning for the future.
One of the most important parts of growing your small business is measuring the data to see if your plans are working. Analytics and reports tell you what is working and what’s not. Analytics tools like Google Analytics or POS reports can tell you what marketing efforts are working, what products are selling, what customers are the most loyal, and so much more. Reports like these give you the information you need to make an effective business plan.
As a small business, you might feel as though you can do it all yourself. After all, your first priority might be cutting costs and spending wisely, and most business management tools can be costly. But in the long run, cutting corners by skimping on business management tools will only hurt you.
However, to grow your small business, it’s worth your while to invest in the right software. Why? Firstly, because time is money. It’s a cliche, but it’s also completely true. If you’re saving money, but wasting hours of time that could be more productively put to use, is that really better? Cutting costs by doing everything yourself could be limiting your potential, because all of your time and energy is spent on menial, time-consuming tasks.
The right business management tools will help you save time and money, make your business processes less prone to human error, and give you more time to focus on driving growth to your business. For example, an inventory management system will help you keep track of your stock and sales, and minimize issues like overstocking, or understocking and missing out on sales. Inventory management is important for making the most of your stock, and a system to help you manage your inventory will make a huge difference to your business’ performance and your own workload. To learn more about how inventory management can help you run your business, click here. To see the best inventory management systems for WooCommerce, click here.
Likewise, if you’re a retail shop with an online store, a point of sale system to help you streamline both retail channels will be a lifesaver. With a point of sale system like Oliver POS, you can sync your online orders with your in-store sales and unify your inventory, sales, customers, staff, and all of your shop’s data. Not to mention, Oliver POS offers a completely free plan for small businesses starting out. As your business grows, their affordable subscriptions offers tools you need to scale your business.
In order to succeed, you have to build it to grow.
Scalability means your business can expand in terms of revenue and operations, with minimal cost to expand. Obviously, if you’re looking to grow a small business, ensuring that it’s easily scalable without too much cost is best. Early on in your operations, there are a few things you can do to set yourself up for success.
Finding the right business management systems is one of them. Find tools that automate time-consuming processes like inventory, email marketing, accounting, among others. Find tools that are easily scalable along with your business. For example, all of Oliver POS’ plans come with unlimited transactions, customers, and products. As your business grows, Oliver POS offers unlimited employees and unlimited registers, and multiple locations. Their Empire subscription also allows for custom development, so any feature you need for your expanding business can be added to your plan.
Another example of making your business scalable is having a dedicated and reliable team. Your team will be able to take on more and more significant tasks as your focuses narrow, including hiring and training new staff members.
Your staff is what makes your business. Invest in the right staff – bright and dedicated individuals you can rely on – and take your time teaching them everything they need to know. Give them the time and resources to become an expert at their job. Team members who are experts in your business will deliver better work, and deliver more important work to your operations. Having someone who knows your business as well as you do will help you in the long run.
On top of that, your team is what makes your company. They’re be the ones your customers will get to know, the ones who will build your brand image and take care of the finer details that comprise your business. So make sure you hire the right people.
Not only that, but it’s important to invest some time and effort into making your business a good place for your staff to work. Make your business a fun place to work, not a toxic one. Check yourself to make sure you have fair expectations of your staff, and give your staff the benefits they need to live a good life outside of the workplace. Their overall happiness will affect their work, and therefore your business. On top of that, if your business is a toxic place to work, you will have high turnover and it will be difficult to keep a good employee for long, which will hurt your business in the long run.
One of the best ways to grow your small business is by partnering up with other businesses. Firstly, you’ll grow your customer base by getting access to your partner’s customers. Likewise, partnerships can be great for exchanging creative new ideas. Partners can learn from one another, from new campaign and promotion ideas, to new strategies for running business. Partners help each other on the road to success. Overall, it’s a good idea to make friends.
To grow your small business, you need to know what you’re up against. Check out competitive companies to see what they’re doing. Take note of everything – their website copy, their prices, their ad campaigns, their offers – and work it into your own planning. Try offering what they’re not offering to get in on the market that your competition is missing. Conversely, take inspiration from the ideas that work for them, and work them into your own strategies.
Retaining loyal customers is essential when growing your small business. Your loyal customers are the ones who make the most of your profits. They return to your store time and time again, and purchase even when times are slow. They’re the ones who recommend your business to their friends and family. They are the most important part of your business – without them, you wouldn’t have a business at all. To learn more about how to build loyal customers, click here.
Especially in light of the recent pandemic, businesses would be smart to move their operations online if they haven’t already. Having an online store could increase your sales exponentially by giving your existing customers a new channel to shop with, and by reaching a whole new audience of potential customers. More and more consumers are shopping online, and without having an online store, you’re missing out on a huge chunk of your potential market!
New to online sales? Check out our blog about building your first website. We also have a guide on improving your online store and boosting online sales.